Playing for one’s nation in an international event is like one of the best things that can happen to an athlete. However, to reach the Promised Land, one will have to exert himself through hell. This process of grinding oneself to the core is one of the most difficult tasks to perform.
There are several factors that come in tandem to contribute to the most structural part of an athlete’s dream. These factors can be compartmentalized in the form of fitness, consistency, innovation, adaptability, bravery and definitely the flair to lead. However, barring these primary factors, there are secondary facets which can also play a very crucial role in shaping up one’s career. These may include the likes of a captain’s nod, the board’s interest in you and most importantly a sturdy fortune.
We will take a look at five of those youngsters who showed exceptional promise in their early days and carried the signature of a star which was to be born in the faraway sky, however, it all fizzled out very shortly due to some unforeseeable circumstances, crumbling the player into oblivion. These lads were genuine faces of brilliance, plying their trade for India U-19, but failed to make any headway into the senior team.
1. Unmukt Chand
Following a meteoric rise from the dust, Unmukt Chand’s sublime batting earned him several plaudits from experts of the game. Known for his exquisite timing and stroke-play, Unmukt showed some lethal batting ability in big contentions. In a quadrangular series, where he spearheaded India’s batting, coming at number 3, he went on to smash an impressive century against Sri Lanka followed by two incredible half-centuries against Australia and England.
After some tremendous batting performances, Unmukt was shouldered with the onus of leading his national contingency and he went on to power India to another World Cup triumph after the feat was achieved by Virat Kohli.
His stunning performance in the final, saw India thump Australia without breaking a sweat after a brilliant partnership with Smit Patel bore handsome dividends.
He was also the leading run-scorer of ACC U-19 Asia Cup with two consecutive centuries in the semi-finals and the finals, against Sri Lanka and Pakistan, respectively.
Despite showing such flamboyant stints in his U-19 days, he still hasn’t managed to get a call up for the national team. One of the probable reasons for this can be his dalliance with inconsistency and another pivotal factor that will be like a mountain in front of him is his biggest contender, India’s most dependable number 3, Virat Kohli, whom he will have to challenge.
2. Baba Aparijith
One of the most talented batsmen in the 2012 U-19 World Cup team that India pinned their hopes blindly on was Baba Aparijith. A vehement attacker of the ball and with some adept footwork, this southpaw was capable of playing monumental knocks whenever his team needed him.
The reason that everyone believed that he can be an instrumental name in Indian cricket team’s posterity was his technical ability, which notched him up few phenomenal shots in the lexicon of cricket.
After a wonderful stint with the U-19 Indian cricket team, he was shortly roped in by the Chennai Super Kings. However, no matter how good he was, the franchise cared very less about talent and always resorted to the big names to deliver the games for them. After the ban was slapped on CSK, he was picked by Rising Pune Super Giants but he failed to make it big, there either.
Slowly and steadily, he faded away into oblivion with now merely reduced to domestic cricket, which sees very limited performances from what could have been one of India’s brightest stars.
3. Vijay Zol
Another talented southpaw, who hailed all the way from Maharashtra and is still an instrumental moniker in domestic cricket, Vijay Zol failed to live up to his billing. Known for his aggression and leadership skills, Zol hogged the limelight for the first time when he went on to score 451 off 467 deliveries, smashing 53 boundaries and 2 over-boundaries in the process.
After a few decent performances, Vijay Zol was honoured with vice-captaincy of the Indian U-19 team that was to play the 2012 U-19 World Cup. His blistering scores of 128, 173 and 113 in the following year produced all the more comments that how he can be a very crucial batting option for India.
He shortly found even higher grounds where he led his team to a triumph in a quadrangular series, by becoming the leading run-scorer for India. In 2014, he got the captaincy of the team, only to be eliminated in the quarter-finals by England where the skipper managed 48 valuable runs.
He has been a part of the Royal Challengers Bangalore since 2014 but has never made it to the broad daylight due to the prominent names in the RCB roster.
4. Taruwar Kohli
While One Kohli went on to rule the world with some extra-terrestrial brilliance, the other ebbed away to dust with some mediocre performances after a fabulous start.
With astonishing figures backing Taruwar, which boasts of a fabulous first-class triple century, he has always failed in the big stages of the game. Merely reduced to a former shadow whose haunting presence hardly makes a sound in cricket anymore, he failed to deliver to his full potential.
5. Deepak Hooda
Another talented name that got lost in the ocean of stars was none other than Deepak Hooda. He hogged the fanfare with some fearless batting in the 2014 U-19 World Cup that saw him firing 237 runs. His first-class cricketing career was also top-notch that witnessed him scoring a fabulous and unbeaten 293.
Despite his sublime performances against Pakistan U-19, he failed to live up the expectations, thereby slowly drifting away from the international scene.